At a recent event at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, platinum selling musician Usher and Grammy award-winning actor and musician Harry Belafonte took the stage and talked about artists and their responsibility towards art and social activism. The conversation was moderated by Soledad O’Brien and lasted for over an hour.
Belafonte was pleased with Usher’s commitment towards social responsibility. He lauded Usher’s effort to protest against the problems of racism and police violence through his music, most notably through his new single “Chains.” The video for the single, which was released recently, raised its voice against racism and police brutality by going over the pictures of people who had died recently because of uncalled-for police action. These pictures include pictures of recently deceased Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
The video was made with the help of Harry positive change in their communities. According to Sankofa, artists are in a unique position to change the society. When they choose to speak about the pressing issues of the society, heads turn and people listen. They can, therefore, be the stalwarts of new movements. They can spearhead social revolutions.
Belafonte has been very active socially all through his life. He was Martin Luther King’s confidante in the sixties. He has been a UNICEF goodwill ambassador since the eighties. He has raised his voice against poor enforcement of policies by both the Bush and the Obama governments. He has publicly criticized Jay-Z for not being active socially.
It is rumored that Jay-Z was also present for the Manhattan event and he met both Usher and Belafonte backstage presumably to offer his apology for not being socially active and to thank them for working for a good cause on behalf of all the black and brown people. He also sat in the audience to listen to the conversation between Usher and Belafonte.
Black America Web reported the news first.
Photo Source: Facebook/ Usher